The ONA was designated for the preservation, protection and enhacement of seven key resources and values. These values were grouped in the designating legislation into the following board categories: Historic, Natural, and Cultural Resources and Scentific, Educational, Recreational, and Scenic values.
Historic and Cultural Resources
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse sits at a prominent location bordered by the Loxhatachee and Indian Rivers.There is archaeological evidence of continuous Native American habitation from 3000 B.C. until 1763 A.D., when the first archeological evidence of an English settlement is recorded. President Franklin Pierce ordered the Ft. Jupiter Lighthouse Reservation in 1854 and Lt. George Meade, later Union General at the Battle of Gettysburg, was selected to design the structure. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was completed in 1860; the resulting 108-foot brick tower was topped with a first-order Fresnel lens manufactured in Paris by Henry-LePaute. The light was first lit in 1860, although it was disabled during much of the Civil War by the assistant lighthouse keeper, a Southern sympathizer.
Through the years the site has served as one of the first U.S. Weather Bureau and Signal Stations, a U.S. Navy Wireless Station, Radio Compass Station, and a successful German U-boat tracking station during WWII. The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation and is one of only thirteen of the original First Order lens still in use in the United States.
Key Past Actions:
- The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and surrounding archeological site were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
- The pre-historic midden behind the Station J building was capped in 1998.
- The Jupiter Lighthouse underwent a complete restoration in 1999 – 2000 at a cost of $858,000.
- The Station J building received a $1.1 million restoration by the Town of Jupiter and is leased to the Loxahatchee River Historical Society in 2006. It now houses the museum, gift shop and offices.
- The Loxahatchee River Historical Society’s public tours and programs reached 57,394 visitors from July 2007-June 2008.
- Relocation and restoration of the Tindall house, Palm Beach County’s oldest known residence, and associated bricked walkway and native plantings will be completed in 2008.
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area straddles an ancient coastal dune system with remnants from Indian River County south through Palm Beach County. High and dry these ancient dunes were among the first areas to be developed along the Treasure Coast and scrub habitats are now isolated in small patches in Palm Beach County.
Currently 63 acres in Lots 15 and 19 are predominately scrub habitats. Three prescribed burns have been conducted in three blocks over the last ten years. Most of the aged sand pine remaining in the unburned blocks was killed by the 2004 hurricanes, transforming much of the tract. On the eastern portion of the tract there is a narrow band of tropical hardwood hammock transitioning into mangrove and a tidal lagoon along the Indian River Lagoon/Intracoastal Waterway.
Special Status Species
- Four-petal pawpaw (Asimina tetramera), Federal and State-listed as Endangered
- Perforate lichen (Cladonia perforata), Federal and State-listed as Endangered
- Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) Federal and State-listed as Threatened (not seen onsite since 2003)
- West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), Federal and State-listed as Endangered
- Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), Florida Species of Special Concern
- Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Florida Species of Special Concern
- Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), Florida Species of Special Concern
- Tri-colored heron (Egretta tricolor), Florida Species of Special Concern
- Curtiss milkweed (Asclepias curtissii), State-listed as Endangered
- Large-leaved rosemary (Conradina grandiflora), State-listed as Threatened
- Nodding pinweed (Lechea cernua), State-listed as Threatened
- Banded wild pine (Tillandsia flexuosa), State-listed as Threatened
- Reflexed wild pine (Tillandsia balbisiana), State-listed as Threatened
- Giant wild pine (Tillandsia utriculata), State-listed as Endangered
- Common wild pine (Tillandsia fasciculata), State-listed as Endangered
Thirty-eight exotic plant species have been identified on Lots 15 and 19. Thirteen of these have been identified by Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council as having the capacity to invade and disrupt native plant communities. Brazilian pepper and Australian pine dominated much of the perimeter of the tract when habitat improvement work began in 1997.
Key Past Actions
- Three prescribed burns totaling 17 acres have been completed in Lot 15:
- 1998 - 5.3 acres, scrub oaks chopped prior to burn
- 2002 - 5.8 acres, sand pine canopy removed prior to burn
- 2008 – 6 acres, post hurricane, most heavy fuels removed prior to burn
- A two-acre tidal lagoon with mangroves and upland plantings was completed in 1999.
- Removal of woody invasive plants, primarily Australian pine and Brazilian pepper, was completed by 2004. Lot 17 and portions of Lot 18 around the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse remain untreated.
- Annual sweeps continue to control invasive vines and herbaceous exotics by hand pulling and hand applied spot treatments of herbicide in Lots 15, 16 and 19. Quarterly sweeps are conducted in Lot 18.
- Slope stabilization was completed along a section of the Loxahatchee River in 2005.